Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iyo-ku Obligations

It looks like pretty soon the general election will be beginning soon, and so as an official Democratic National Convention State Corps blogger this year, I have an obligation to start tearing apart the Republican nominee, John McCain.

Well, gi minagahet, it might be a few more days until the race is officially over, and even though it looks like the end is coming soon for Hillary Clinton, the race is still open and still up for grabs, depending on her mood.

Tomorrow the Rules and Bylaws committee for the Democrats will be meeting, and if Hillary Clinton is interested in party unity and improving the chances of her party winning in November, in ways other than her being the most electable candidate, she will take whatever compromise is decided upon. If she's not interested in such trivial matters, then this fight could go all the way to the convention, and if so, I'll have front row seats for it.

Just a little Guam delegate and superdelegate update: Guam's delegation to the convention is split four for Clinton and five for Obama. Senator Ben Pangelinan made news recently for endorsing Obama. Guam Democratic Committee Chairwoman Pilar Lujan made even more news by going back on her promise to endorse whoever wins the Guam caucus. She's now backing Clinton.

While I understand the argument that the primary battle between Obama and Clinton has been good in terms of registering voters and expanding the party's base, its also very clear that John McCain has basically been committing political suicide left and right, and completely getting away with it.

The foundation of McCain's platform is simply experience. He is very old compared to the other two candidates, and he has been in the Senate for a very long time, and he has been to Iraq eight times since the most recent war there began. McCain's message is clear, Guahu is mas finayi, Guahu i mas tekngo', I am the wisest, I am the most knowledgable. But for someone who is running on a platform primarily on finayi yan tekngo' especially about Iraq, McCain has been making a huge number of very simple and basic mistakes about the location, the war and the issue which he is campaigning on as such an expert.

Just in the past few months, he's gotten troop levels wrong, grossly misrepresented the state of security in Iraq, repeatedly confused Shia and Sunni, and accused Iran of training its religious enemy Al Qaeda.

Yesterday I saw McCain come out in full bihu force, attacking Obama for being out of touch with the state of affairs and the needs of Iraq, and the primary evidence had provided for this claim, was that Obama has only been to Iraq once, in 2006. McCain offered himself as the clear contrast to Obama's taitinigo', noting proudly the amount of times he's been to Iraq (careful not to mention how much tax payer money each of his trips has cost). Its unfortunate for McCain that his numerous trips and his intimate knowledge of what is happening on "the ground," hasn't had any noticeable impact on his message, for example in terms reducing his amount of gaffes. Or actually, maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, and if McCain never went to Iraq, then he might confuse it with Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, Gondwanaland, or maybe even Guam.

This week when McCain threw down a gauntlet challenge to Obama, which took the form of a joint trip to Iraq to see the way things really are there, given McCain's non-stop gaffe strategy on the country, his challenge should have been taken with about as much seriousness as his bland assertion that a Baghdad market was safe, while he was being guarded by a hundred soldiers, three helicopters and two gunships.

But instead, somehow there seems to be a consensus out there in the majority of the media (at least that I've read or listened to) that in this challenge, McCain has, at least momentarily taken control over the debate and put Obama in a dangerous position in terms of "to go, or not to go." Obama has responded, saying that he won't let this issue devolve into politics, but nonetheless he is obviously on the defensive here, and whether he goes or not, he'll take a hit, either as kubatde (if he doesn't go) or lachi yan taitinigo' (if he does).

If the majority of the media still wasn't consumed with the Democratic party battle, then I doubt that this sort of occupation of the discursive high ground would have been accomplished so easily, without a lot of resistance. This is of course why I have been hoping for weeks for an end to the Democratic internal warfare. John McCain has been running a terrible campaign so far. I mean how can you expect to run on a platform of ethics and a refusal of "politics as usual," when you have so many lobbyists running your campaign!? If the critical limelight was more evenly distributed between Obama and McCain, then I don't think he would be able to get away with this sort of nonsense.

So, while on the one hand I'm hoping that after tomorrow, and after the last three primaries take place in Montana, Puerto Rico and South Dakota, this stage of the election will be over, I've decided to make my own opening salvo against McCain in prep for the general election. I'm pasting some videos below, which for those interested in finding out about i magahet na John McCain, or the "real John McCain," promises to not disappoint.











Friday, May 30, 2008

Famoksaiyan on Youtube

I just started a youtube page for Famoksaiyan. Here's the first video, which is the testimony that Julian Aguon recently gave before the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Julian's intervention at the UNPFII has yielded some very hopeful results.

This youtube presence for Famoksaiyan, joins the handful of other places where you can find plenty of info on the group. Don't forget, you can also find Famoksaiyan on Facebook, Myspace, Blogger and Rise-up.

For those worried about all the sort of "half-sites" where you can find info on Famoksaiyan, and are just dying for a central virtual location for the group, mungga chathinasso. At the Guma'famoksaiyan gathering which took place over the weekend the group discussed that need, and we are working on it as I type.



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Although the Famoksaiyan youtube page is new, I've had my own page for quite while. I've already uploaded more than 30 movies, lao pinat mubin Sumåhi.

Estague i mas maegga na mubi-hu. Lao gi minagahet, ti hu komprende sa' hafa este i mas maegga. Gof ti apmam yan ti gof interesante.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Biba Ha'anin Famalao'an!

Ti manuge’ yu’ gi i ma’pos na simåna put I Ha’anin Mannana.

Despues yu’ put este, sa’ achokka’ siña ta sångan na “puru ha’ ginnen i minalago i mangkometsiånte este na ha’ani” i espiritu ni’ ha kekeonra sen maolek sinembatgo.

Gi i todu i kettura siha, ma o’onra i mannana yan i famalao’an, lao pi’ot gi i kutrran “matriarchal” siha, nai ma gof respepeta i bida yan i pusishon i famalao’an. Achokka’ i Españot yan i Amerikånu, annai manhalom siha giya Guahån, ma kefunas este na espiritu gi i ketturan Chamoru, ti kabåles i minalago-ñiha. Olaha mohon yan si yu’us ma’åse na ti ma hulat muna’kabåles este na binaba.

Lao put i esta atrasao-hu, ti bei post på’go put Si nana-hu ha’. Achokka’ nahong i mångge na bidå-ña para bai hu na’bula un miyon na posts put Guiya.

Instead, bai hu post put i fuetsan todu i famalao’an Chamoru, i mampå’go yan i manmo’na.

Eståba yu’ gi i weekend gi halom i mina’tres na dinaña’ Famoksaiyan, Guma’Famoksaiyan: Gathering Strength for the Journey Ahead. Gi este na inetnon, yan siña gi todu i “progressive” na inetnon Chamoru, manmemetgot, manmomo’na yan ti mantulaikayon i famalao’an. Fihu gi i miteng-måmi gi Famoksaiyan, puru ha’ famalao’an, yan tåya’ otro na låhi fuera di Guahu.

Tåya’ guaha este, ti mangkekeha yu’.

Lao gi este na fuetsan på’go, mismo i irensian-ñiha ginnen i manantigu na Chamoru siha.

Pues, bai hu silebra yan onra este na fueinetsa taiguini. Un gof maolek na lepblo mapubliko gi i ma’pos na sakkan, na’ån-ña, “I Manmañaina-ta: I Manmaga’låhi yan I Manmå’gas; Geran Chamoru yan Españot (1668-1695). Si Ed Benavente tumuge’ este yan Si Raphael Unpingco yumungga.

Hamyo ni’ tumaitai put este na tiempo gi i estoria-ta, esta en tingo’ na guaha didide’ pat kana tåya’ infotmashon put i famalao’an Chamoru ni’ manmagas pat maga’håga’ gi duranten i Geran Chamoru yan Españot. Put iyon-ñiha “biases” i Manespañot, ti ma tuge’ ya ti ma rikoknosi i famalao’an Chamoru, ma tuge’ put i lalåhi ha’.

Este na tinige’, tinige’ as Ed, para u eksplika sa’ hafa ta tutungo’ i na’ån-ñiha i manantigu na maga’låhi, lao ti ta tutungo’ i na’ån i manantigu na maga’håga’.

"I Manmaga’håga’ yan Famalao’an gi Todu Islas yan Sengsong Siha"
Maayao ginnen i lepblo:
I Manmañaina-ta: I Manmaga’låhi yan I Manmå’gas; Geran Chamoru yan Españot (1668-1695).
Si Ed Benavente tumuge’ yan Si Raphael Unpingco yumungga.

Mungga hit manmaleffa na para kada Maga’låhi guaha Maga’håga’. Para kada un påtgon guaha nåna yan pusipble nånan biha, lao put rason na patriåtka (patriarchy) i sisteman-ñiha i Españot, nungka na u ma rikoknisa pat u ma tuge’ put i che’cho’-ñiha i famalao’an Chamoru yan i pusishon ni’ ma gogo’te gi lina’la’ i Manchamoru. Gi todu inetnon yan kinalamten Chamoru, i palao’an sumosteteni i familia yan i kuminidåt. Todu i kinalamten kustumbre yan kotturan Chamoru nisisåriu na u faloffan gi Maga’håga’ yan famalao’an i sengsong siha. Ma nota nu i mamale’ i fuetsan famalao’an, annai despues di i Gera ma sodda’ na makkat manmafa’nå’gue i mansotterita put obligashon-ñiha gi assagua yanggen umakkamo’:

“[because]…in the house of their parents they were used to seeing that the head of the household was the woman, she ordering and the husband obeying.”

Ta rikoknisa yan ta abiba na gi todu i Gereru yan Manmaga’låhi ni’ manmatai gi durånten i Geran Chamoru yan Españot, i mañainå-ta, i famalao’an kumakåtga’ mo’na todu i piniti, minasa’pet, chini’ot yan chinatsaga’. Siha humåhafot i lalåhin-ñiha yan i asaguan-ñiha ni’ mamomoddong gi durånten gera. Siha kumåkatga’ i lenguåhi yan kottura mo’na. Siha mo’na lå’la i Chamoru na rasa yan siha muna’pusipble na u guaha tinaotao Chamoru på’go. Saina Ma’åse para todu famalao’an Chamoru.


Biba Famalao'an Chamoru!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Lot of Praying and Hoping To Do...

Published on Monday, May 26, 2008 by CommonDreams.org
War Immemorial Day – No Peace for Militarized U.S.
by Bill Quigley

Memorial Day is not actually a day to pray for U.S. troops who died in action but rather a day set aside by Congress to pray for peace. The 1950 Joint Resolution of Congress which created Memorial Day says: “Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a Nation-wide prayer for peace.” (64 Stat.158).

Peace today is a nearly impossible challenge for the United States. The U.S. is far and away the most militarized country in the world and the most aggressive. Unless the U.S. dramatically reduces its emphasis on global military action, there will be many, many more families grieving on future Memorial days.

The U.S. spends over $600 billion annually on our military, more than the rest of the world combined. China, our nearest competitor, spends about one-tenth of what we spend. The U.S. also sells more weapons to other countries than any other nation in the world.

The U.S. has about 700 military bases in 130 countries world-wide and another 6000 bases in the US and our territories, according to Chalmers Johnson in his excellent book NEMESIS: THE LAST DAYS OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC (2007).

The Department of Defense (DOD) reports nearly 1.4 million active duty military personnel today. Over a quarter of a million are in other countries from Iraq and Afghanistan to Europe, North Africa, South Asia and the rest of the Western Hemisphere. The DOD also employs more than 700,000 civilian employees.

The US has used its armed forces abroad over 230 times according to researchers at the Department of the Navy Historical Center. Their publications list over 60 military efforts outside the U.S. since World War II.

While the focus of most of the Memorial Day activities will be on U.S. military dead, no effort is made to try to identify or remember the military or civilians of other countries who have died in the same actions. For example, the U.S. government reports 432 U.S. military dead in Afghanistan and surrounding areas, but has refused to disclose civilian casualties. “We don’t do body counts,” General Tommy Franks said.

Most people know of the deaths in World War I - 116,000 U.S. soldiers killed. But how many in the U.S. know that over 8 million soldiers from other countries and perhaps another 8 million civilians also died during World War I?

By World War II, about 408,000 U.S. soldiers were killed. World-wide, at least another 20 million soldiers and civilians died.

The U.S. is not only the largest and most expensive military on the planet but it is also the most active. Since World War II, the U.S. has used U.S. military force in the following countries:

1947-1949 Greece. Over 500 U.S. armed forces military advisers were sent into Greece to administer hundreds of millions of dollars in their civil war.
1947-1949 Turkey. Over 400 U.S. armed forces military advisers sent into Turkey,
1950-1953 Korea. In the Korean War and other global conflicts 54,246 U.S. service members died.
1957-1975 Vietnam. Over 58,219 U.S. killed.
1958-1984 Lebanon. Sixth Fleet amphibious Marines and U.S. Army troops landed in Beirut during their civil war. Over 3000 U.S. military participated. 268 U.S. military killed in bombing.
1959 Haiti. U.S. troops, Marines and Navy, land in Haiti and joined in support of military dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier against rebels.
1962 Cuba. Naval and Marine forces blockade island.
1964 Panama. U.S. troops stationed there since 1903. U.S. troops used gunfire and tear gas to clear US Canal Zone.
1965-1966 Dominican Republic. U.S. troops land in Dominican Republic during their civil war - eventually 23,000 were stationed in their country.
1969-1975 Cambodia. U.S. and South Vietnam jets dropped more than 539,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia - three times the number dropped on Japan during WWII.
1964-1973 Laos. U.S. flew 580,000 bombing runs over country - more than 2 million tons of bombs dropped - double the amount dropped on Nazi Germany. US dropped more than 80 million cluster bombs on Laos - 10 to 30% did not explode leaving 8 to 24 million scattered across the country. Since the war stopped, two or three Laotians are killed every month by leftover bombs - over 5700 killed since bombing stopped.
1980 Iran. Operation Desert One, 8 U.S. troops die in rescue effort.
1981 Libya. U.S. planes aboard the Nimitz shot down 2 Libyan jets over Gulf of Sidra.
1983 Grenada. U.S. Army and Marines invade, 19 U.S. killed.
1983 Lebanon. Over 1200 Marines deployed into country during their civil war. 241 U.S. service members killed in bombing.
1983-1991 El Salvador. Over 150 US soldiers participate in their civil war as military advisers.
1983 Honduras. Over 1000 troops and National Guard members deployed into Honduras to help the contra fight against Nicaragua.
1986 Libya. U.S. Naval air strikes hit hundreds of targets - airfields, barracks, and defense networks.
1986 Bolivia. U.S. Army troops assist in anti-drug raids on cocaine growers.
1987 Iran. Operation Nimble Archer. U.S. warships shelled two Iranian oil platforms during Iran-Iraq war.
1988 Iran. US naval warship Vincennes in Persian Gulf shoots down Iranian passenger airliner, Airbus A300, killing all 290 people on board. US said it thought it was Iranian military jet.
1989 Libya. U.S. Naval jets shoot down 2 Libyan jets over Mediterranean
1989-1990 Panama. U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy forces invade Panama to arrest President Manuel Noriega on drug charges. U.N. puts civilian death toll at 500.
1989 Philippines. U.S. jets provide air cover to Philippine troops during their civil war.
1991 Gulf War. Over 500,000 U.S. military involved. 700 plus U.S. died.
1992-93 Somalia. Operation Provide Relief, Operation Restore Hope, and Operation Continue Hope. Over 1300 U.S. Marines and Army Special Forces landed in 1992. A force of over 10,000 US was ultimately involved. Over 40 U.S. soldiers killed.
1992-96 Yugoslavia. U.S. Navy joins in naval blockade of Yugoslavia in Adriatic waters.
1993 Bosnia. Operation Deny Flight. U.S. jets patrol no-fly zone, naval ships launch cruise missiles, attack Bosnian Serbs.
1994 Haiti. Operation Uphold Democracy. U.S. led force of 20,000 troops invade to restore president.
1995 Saudi Arabia. U.S. soldier killed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia outside US training facility.
1996 Saudi Arabia. Nineteen U.S. service personnel die in blast at Saudi Air Base.
1998 Sudan. Operation Infinite Reach. U.S. cruise missiles fired at pharmaceutical plant thought to be terrorist center.
1998 Afghanistan. Operation Infinite Reach. U.S. fires 75 cruise missiles on four training camps.
1998 Iraq. Operation Desert Fox. U.S. Naval bombing Iraq from striker jets and cruise missiles after weapons inspectors report Iraqi obstructions.
1999 Yugoslavia. U.S. participates in months of air bombing and cruise missile strikes in Kosovo war.
2000 Yemen. 17 U.S. sailors killed aboard US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Cole docked in Aden, Yemen.
2001 Macedonia. U.S. military lands troops during their civil war.
2001 to present Afghanistan. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) includes Pakistan and Uzbekistan with Afghanistan. 432 U.S. killed in those countries. Another 64 killed in other locations of OEF - Guantanamo Bay, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Yemen. US military does not count deaths of non- US civilians, but estimates of over 8000 Afghan troops killed, over 3500 Afghan civilians killed.
2002 Yemen. U.S. predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda.
2002 Philippines. U.S. sends over 1800 troops and Special Forces in mission with local military.
2003-2004 Colombia. U.S. sends in 800 military to back up Columbian military troops in their civil war.
2003 to present Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom. 4082 U.S. military killed. British medical journal Lancet estimates over 90,000 civilian deaths. Iraq Body Count estimates over 84,000 civilians killed.
2005 Haiti. U.S. troops land in Haiti after elected president forced to leave.
2005 Pakistan. U.S. air strikes inside Pakistan against suspected Al Qaeda, killing mostly civilians.
2007 Somalia. U.S. Air Force gunship attacked suspected Al Qaeda members, U.S. Navy joins in blockade against Islamic rebels.

The U.S. has the most powerful and expensive military force in the world. The U.S. is the biggest arms merchant. And the U.S. has been the most aggressive in world-wide interventions. If Memorial Day in the U.S. is supposed to be about praying for peace, the U.S. has a lot of praying (and changing) to do.

Bill is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. His email is quigley77@gmail.com

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We Are War Stories

I gave a lecture recently at University of California, Riverside, on Chamorro soldiers, and the relationship between colonization and militarization in Guam. I gave it just a few days after I had returned to San Diego from a brief visit in Guam for Sumahi's first birthday.

While I was at the airport waiting for my plane to board, I saw this homage, downstairs from the security screening area. It is an homage to all the soldiers that have died from Micronesia in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa, in this always growing and expanding War on Terror.

Ni' ngai'an na bei maleffa i sinangan as Borat, annai ilek-na "War of Terror."

When I gave my presentation at UC Riverside, I made clear to the students there, that if they want to find what political community or entity of the United States has the highest rate of members killed in US wars since 9/11, you don't look at any particular state or territory, but you have to look at what has long been called America's Insular Empire. This empire is comprised of islands in both the Pacific and the Caribbean, which are all territories of the United States, and rather than having formal roles in the US Federal Government, are instead administered through a colonial tag team between the Department of the Interior and the US Congress.

You can find evidence of this empire, and its constitution, or how it is brought together on the Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs website. There they have a page titled "Fallen Heroes in the War on Terror from OIA's Insular Areas." As the title indicates, you can find here a list of all of the dead soldiers from American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the CNMI, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia. Although American Samoa in particular can claim the mantle of having the highest rate of KIA amongst all American communities, when you combine all of these territories together, they nonetheless form an imposing list of almost 60 casualties.

When I share stories in the states, of America's colonization of Guam, and mix in both the bad with the good that it has brought to the island, people often then question me about why then, do Chamorros serve? Why do they choose to fight for a country which is and isn't theirs? A country which has done just as much good for them as bad?

All of the different territories, for very different historical and contemporary reasons could have different answers. Each could claim to have some similar experiences in their colonial or neocolonial relationship to the United States, but there are still very stark differences. But given their exceptional positions today, their is still plenty of room for questions as to why people in these islands would be so willing to sign up to serve in the US military.

In terms of Guam, in a story that my friend will be coming out with soon, I think she has a line, which can explain to us more about this dynamic. Speaking on behalf of Chamorros over the past century she writes, in order to explain where we have come from, and who we are, that "we are war stories."

We have lived lives and have inherited lives which are innundated with war and wars. I manaina-ta survived World War II, and their scars and trauma becomes our patriotism, our feelings of debt, our feelings of intimacy and dependency upon the United States. The war becomes the central event in why Chamorros became Americans, why they need to be Americans. Even if we don't want to be, and constantly feel like we are mistreated by the United States, the war looms over us, a seething presence that cannot ever be dismissed.

We are an unsinkable aircraft carrier, we are the USS Guam, we are the tip of America's spear, we are Fortress Guam. After World War II, the US was determined to follow Alfred Mahan's suggestion that Guam be hammered into becoming America's "Gibraltar" in the Pacific. The destruction of World War II, the massive land takings in the late 1940's, the slow building of more and more military infrastructure on the island, and finally the decision to transfer a military force out of South Korea and Okinawa to the island, are all gestures that make this transformation real.

The oppressiveness of all these militaristic nicknames for Guam is not accidentally or simply cute, it is an effect of how soaked we, our histories, our memories, our families, our culture is with war and the military.

Earlier this year the Washington Post came out with an article titled "Guam's Young Steeped in History, Line Up to Enlist." The most basic point that this article makes is to answer the earlier question I posed. Why do Chamorros serve and support the military so forcefully? Because their history tells them to. Because if we look back at the 110 year relationship that we have with the United States, and around what issues or events Guam appears to "matter" or is "mentioned," then the issue that makes Guam, that creates it as a point which is visible, worth mentioning, or just as something which in the vast "emptiness" of the Pacific, which means something, is war, is military actions, military needs. Guam appears in American history books around wars, 1898 and 1941-1944. It appears in newspapers around the US when military is moved onto it or taken from it. It receives attention from the Federal Government based on how strategically important it is. If you take a step back and bring together all of these moments, these mentions, then it is very clear that Guam's role in the world, and therefore the Chamorro's role in the world and in the "American family" is to function as a conduit, a tiny little point through which America can project its military might.

Basically, what you can take from this post so far is that I know alot about how militarized Guam and Chamorros are. How much the war and the military plays and has played in shaping who we are and who we feel we must be.

But...I constantly wish that this wasn't the case. Olaha mohon na sina matulaika este.

I have often stressed to both Chamorros and non-Chamorros, that in the history of Guam, in our "culture" we find plenty of reasons both to love the United States as well as to hate it. What this history of military affinity and service shows is that the way we have long perceived our culture and history is skewed to continually support the "loving the United States" dimension of our past and present.

But, given the Catholic roots of Chamorro culture and belief today, and the experiences of so many Chamorros, of war and occupation, we find enough there for a very strong and vibrant anti-war Chamorro identity. An identity which has known war, has known that destruction and is therefore not committed to further war and militarization, but is determined instead to foster peace.

I will continue to dream about this sort of shift in Chamorro consciousness, and in my work and activism I will continue to try and make it possible. What set me on this course for writing this post today, was a short dialogue from the New Zealand film Utu.

Ya-hu este na kachido, lao taya' tiempo-ku pa'go para bai tuge' mas put Guiya. Otro biahi siempre.

In the film, a Maori soldier serving in the British military in New Zealand defects and declares war on the white settles, after he finds his village destroyed by the same military he is serving in. The film is far more complex than my descripton here will allow, but this will have to do for now (sa' esta gof chatangmak guini). As he wages war against white settler society and the military that protects their "claims" to the land and its people, he begins to inspire other Maoris serving in the military to join his cause. After an exchange between two Maori soldiers in which the loyalties of one of them is unclear, meaning he may or may not leave soon to join the resistance, a white officer appears to find out what is going on.

In the exchange that follows, I found one of the hopes that I have of everyone in the United States, not just Chamorros. A hope that some of the very fundamental assumptions that they have about the military, its role in society, its role in the world, be questioned, be really re-examined and thought through again. On Guam, people have very positive ideas about what the military is, what it does in Guam and elsewhere. They see it as the thing which makes life possible. It protects, brings in money, provides security, provides discipline, helps the environment, provides humanitarian aid, makes a better world possible. But the military is also something which ruins things, which poisons lands, lives, which destroys countries, islands, peoples. Destruction, just as much as defense is what a military is supposed to do, and around the world and in our own corner of the Paciifc, the US military has shown that for good or for bad it is very accomplished at that. I just wish, that people would begin to consider whether or not all that positivity is justified, whether or not its true or real, whether or not it does in fact help or hurt those promises of a better world? I think, in particular Guam would be better served if we were able to dis-associate our interests from what the US military wants from us, when we determine how to make our island a better place. Sometimes they might be the same, but sometimes they might not be, and I worry that given the overly patriotic position of Guam today, it never even occurs to most people that there could be a distinction, a difference or a conflict.

Here's the dialogue:

Lt. Scott: Trouble?

Wiremu: Maybe (translated)

Lt. Scott: Is he going too?

Wiremu: Sir, will these help to make a better world?

Lt. Scott: I doubt it (translated)

Wiremu: Then does it matter which side we're on?

Monday, May 19, 2008

From a Footnote...To the Democratic National Convention

Sorry I won't be posting much for the next few days. This weekend is the 2008 Famoksaiyan gathering, Guma'Famoksaiyan: Gathering Strength for the Journey Ahead, and so I've got plenty of things to do to prepare for it. I'm actually writing up right now the roles and rules for an activity were going to try out, called "Decolonization Roleplaying." I'll have more to say about it later.

But I figured I had to post something today, because I've gotten a rush of new traffic over the past week.

Last week I was chosen to be one of the 55 state (and territorial/colonial) bloggers to be represented at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August. A link to my blog has been floating around the internet, on all kinds of Democratic, liberal, progressive and yes sometimes conservative sites, which has been driving a lot of new readers here.

So I now have, for at least the new few months, a new audience for this blog, and new obligations in terms of writing and commentary. Usually my blog is aimed at people from Guam, with Chamorros both on the island and in the diaspora being my audience. But my blog could be just as useful for others, who are interested in learning some critical information about Chamorro language, history or culture. The use of the world "critical" means not just as a simple introduction or depoliticized presentation, but as something which is written and communicated in such ways as to either illuminate or impact different structures of power or meaning. So for instance, while I am regularly using the Chamorro language in my posts, I am also constantly talking about the politics of language, or why the Chamorro language is being lost, why its not being spoken, what is keeping us from learning it, speaking it and sharing it.

But as can be gleaned from my previous paragraph, another audience for this blog is academic. People interested in having very real, concrete and active conversations about things such as American militarization, imperialism and colonization. This list of "isms" is something which we find very clear examples of in the 110 year political history between Guam and the United States, and so I am committed to sharing (again critically) this historical and contemporary reality with others.
My new audience, and one which I am definitely happy to engage with is a liberal, Democratic, progressive one. There is so much terrain, so many issues and so many ideas upon which there is a strong affinity between what I believe and what these other bloggers believe, but I know that given my political status, there will be very fundamental divisions and distinctions, that cannot be simply explained away as "politics" or simple differences of opinion, but stem directly from the ambiguous and colonial status of Guam.

I wrote last year a post called "Are Liberals Taking Over Chamorro.com?" where I discussed this very issue of obvious affinity between "liberals" in Guam and "liberals" in the United States on certain topics, and how this affinity collapses in particular around the issue of sovereignty. I came up with this post in response to a number of rude emails that I was receiving which were questioning why the website I had recently taken over, Chamorro.com, was becoming more liberal, as I began to change many of its links to provide information on the military build up in Guam, and about the need to decolonize the island.

After reading this and others emails, a number of thoughts began to rattle around my brain. For these Chamorros, who were almost all I guessed diasporic or living in the United States and not in Guam, issues of decolonization, self-determination and cultural revitalization were apparently "liberal." The most likely reason for this assumption would be that since Chamorros pushes for decolonization and demands for self-determination, implicitly or explicitly critique or contest the benevolence, authority, power or greatness of the United States, then Chamorros who want to change the fact that their island is a colony, belong in the free speech zone cages along with those "liberals" who according to places such as Fox News, "hate the United States."

In this framework the stupidest "conservative" position that criticism of the United States in whatever form equals hatred of it, is derived from two "visions" or "fantasies" of what the United States is. The first fantasy we find best exemplified through a statement of the First President Bush. After a US fighter had shot down an Iranian airliner carrying almost 300 civilian passengers, Bush responded that "I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are." In this fantasy, the United States simply can't do anything wrong, and so those who can't recognize this simple obvious fact are blind, hate-filled terrorists! The second fantasy isn't too different, but makes the same argument by looking at the rest of the world first. It is a fantasy that the United States isn't the greatest and perfect place in the world in and of itself, but rather if you look at the incredible crappiness and suckiness of everyplace else in the world, the United States is clearly by default the greatest place on the planet. Therefore, whoever says anything bad about the United States should shut the hell up, or else go starve in Africa, or be blown up in the Middle East, or be poor in Mexico.

The annoying and frustrating thing is that, this vast difference of opinion and willingness to loathe, critize or oppose the United States is a figment and fantasy of conservatives. In reality both liberals and conservatives share the same love for the United States, the same acceptance of its sovereignty, its greatness and as we can see in the rhetoric from the majority of both Democrats and Republicans running for President (gi i otro na sakkan, ti hu hongge na esta mangcamcampaign siha!), its right to determine the nature of the world, and how other people's backyards should look.

Liberals may be more willing, thankfully, to say that the United States has messed up, or has wronged someone, but ultimately the difference between these two poles of political opinion are not defined by a "hatred" for the United States. This acceptance of the United States nation/nation-state as the basis for their political identities, and an exceptional point from which they form their political ideas and limits, means that as the communities of indigenous people attached to United States, are either colonies or nations within nations, the positions of liberal and conservative don't translate coherently into these regions, nor imply coherent positions in relations to these peoples. These communities aren't simply other ethnic groups or other people of color, but rather indigenous peoples whose existence is defined by some measure of, desire for, or depriving of sovereignty. It is for this reason that you can't simply turn decolonization into a liberal or conservative issue, both inside of Guam and in terms of how Americans react or interpret or relate to Guam.

For instance, many activists and Chamorros who consider themselves to be progressive were excited at the victory of the Democrats last November, when they triumphantly returned to Congress in 2007 as the majority party. For most of these activists, issues of sovereignty, autonomy, decolonization and the rights to self-determination and determine the political existences and futures of Chamorros are of primary importance. It is interesting however, that although they feel that the Democrats are on their side, or that they are joined in a fight with them against Republicans, one of the first acts of the new Democratic Congress was an attempt to take sovereignty away from the CNMI! Attempts to Federalize the CNMI are being made in the name of economic equality and righting oppressive conditions. The CNMI currently has the right to structure its own economy, whereas Guam must abide by Federal laws and rules. What Federalization will do is basically do is slowly over time dissolve the small pieces of sovereign authority that the CNMI does currently have, and bring it into agreement with Federal laws and standards.

For many in Guam and in the United States, the minimum wage and economic conditions of the CNMI are a problem, but we also need to recognize here the sovereignty and autonomy that the CNMI is supposed to have. For Democrats this sovereignty means nothing, it is simply a barrier that is preventing the spreading of American style equality and economy to the CNMI and also tainting the name of the United States, by legalizing sweatshop labor in the name of the United States, since the CNMI is technically part of the US.

Interestingly enough, the much maligned by Democrats and progressive Tom Delay and his super lobbyist friend Jack Ambramoff were in certain ways, huge allies of the CNMI and its sovereignty. So long as Delay was in power, and the money was flowing, the CNMI could count on Delay to block any attempt at Federalization. So in a sad, tragic way, the idea that the CNMI should have the right to determine its own economy and existence, is not a principle the "liberals" in the United States accept, but was one which "conservative" corrupt politicians were more than willing to accept.

So, although I do anticipate more problems over divisions such as this, I feel it is nonetheless very important to engage with liberals and progressives from the US, since the critique that Guam can offer about American imperialism, colonialism and militarism, is one that everyone here should know.
Several years ago I wrote a poem called My Island is a Big American Footnote, which basically explored this idea of what Guam, as an exceptional piece of America, one of its most formal colonies, says then about the rest of this big overwhelming text we call America.

See, a footnote always poses a question, or supplies an answer
Is an excess or an extra thought,
Always articulates something that just doesn’t fit into the regular text
So what does my footnote do?
Among other things it calls for American people to reconcile their proud to be not colonial not imperial existence with the fact that what they keep off their margins of
layouts/maps/discourse proves blatantly that they are.

By attending the Democratic National Convention, by sitting in the center of where the Democratic party will be making history this year, and will be theoretically turning the next page of this progressive and always improving American story, I can not only help news of Guam's issues reach a larger national audience, but also providing an important reminders about the limits of American democracy, its failings, it exceptions. And as liberals are often those most willing to see the wrongs of their country and try to fix them, then I see going to the convention as an even more hopeful and exciting opportunity.

As part of my new commitment to this audience, which is still struggling with the Obama v. Clinton issue, that, after tonight looks to last a few more weeks, let me share some Democratic Primary news from Guam.

As part of the nominating process, Guam gets a total of 9 votes. Five superdelegates and 8 pledged delegates, each of which (by virtue of Guam's colonial status) only counts as half of a delegate. The same goes for the delegates from the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Americans Abroad. Today, there was some surpising news, that Guam's most visible current superdelegate Non-voting Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, who most expected (Guahu lokkue') would go for Clinton, came out in support of Obama.

I don't agree with much that Bordallo does, especially since 2005 and the announcement that the US will be moving several thousand Marines (and their dependents) to Guam from Okinawa, and Congresswoman Bordallo has become one of the most vocal cheerleaders for this "transfer." But I have to say that I agree with this, I hope that she is doing this in the spirit of Democratic unity, and at last coming together to make sure that John McCain doesn't win in November.
An excerpt from the press release regarding her endorsement can be found below:

“Today I have pledged my support as a superdelegate to Senator Barack Obama. Senator Obama offers us the leadership needed to address the challenges Guam and our nation will face in the coming years.
Senator Obama is working very closely with Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and other Senate leaders to secure more support for H.R. 1595, the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act. Senator Obama fully understands and supports the efforts to seek full recognition for the patriotism and suffering endured by the people of Guam during enemy occupation in World War II.
Senator Obama has also pledged to help improve Guam's economy, including through opportunities with the military build-up—an issue I have worked very hard on since taking office—and I believe he is the right candidate to help move Guam and our nation forward given the challenges we face in our world today.”
Senator Obama said, “I thank Congresswoman Bordallo for her support. Senator Bordallo has been fighting to ensure that the people of Guam have a voice in Washington. I look forward to working with her to ensure that young people in Guam have the education and opportunities they need to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.”

Famoksaiyan Tulu

Minagahet Zine
Volume 6 Issue 2 - March 24, 2008
http://www.geocities.com/minagahet

Hafa Adai, yan welcome to i mina'trenta sais na Minagahet.
It is that time of year again, almost time for another dinaña' Famoksaiyan or Famoksaiyan gathering. This year's gathering is titled "Guma'Famoksaiyan: Gathering Strength for the Journey Ahead," and is scheduled for May 23-25, 2008 in San Diego, California. This year's gathering is being co-sponsored by Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHELU) Inc. For more info or to find regular updates, please head to the Guma'Famoksaiyan blog. This issue of Minagahet will be, for those who don't know much about Famoksaiyan, an introduction to hayi ham? and ginnen manu ham? And for those who already do know about Famoksaiyan it will be a retrospective of sorts, a collection of different events and projects that we've completed over the past three years.

Ti bai hu kedagi hamyo, it has been surreal putting this issue together. When the idea for the first Famoksaiyan conference was discussed way back in 2005 by me and i primu-hu Alfred Flores, we weren't thinking that it would or ever could come this far. We spoke to each other about the great distances between Chamorros in the states, and then the even further (geographic and metaphoric) distances that existed between Chamorros who saw eye to eye on issues of colonization, decolonization and progressive politics. Chamorro communities in the islands and the in the diaspora tend to be on the conservative sign, and just as many Chamorros in the states, working, attending school, think of themselves as the only Chamorro around, those who are critical of issues affecting Chamorros in relation to the United States, tend to feel even more alone.

On Guam, there is a tradition of anti-colonial struggles, leaders, movements, groups and writers. Yanggen malago hao sumanao i minimu kontra colonization, there are many ways one can go about it. You can attend a Nasion Chamoru meeting, speak to former or current members of Nasion, OPI-R, Para Pada' or the CCC, stop by the side of the road and talk to Howard Hemsing, pick up a copy of Just Left of the Setting Sun or join a group like Guma' Palu Li'e.

In the fall of last year I completed a research project titled "Decolonization and the Diaspora: The Resistance and Insistence of Decolonization Amongst Chamorros in California," which looked at the presence and absence of "decolonization" amongst the political/social organizing of Chamorros in the United States. What I found was a clear lack of any progressive or critical tradition which young Chamorros in the states could draw from in terms of forming their political identities and projects. There were some small things here or there, a few scattered organizations, most of which came into existence and then quickly fell apart. In fact on issues of Chamorros being politically active, most Chamorros seemed to celebrate the fact that Chamorros aren't "political" or that their true and authentic condition is to not take political issues seriously.
For these reasons, Chamorros tended to look elsewhere for this sort of thing, becoming radicalized through working with other indigenous groups, or other ethnic groups such as Latino, Asian/Asian American and African American groups. What the first Famoksaiyan conference was supposed to be, was just a place where those who wanted to help start this new Chamorro tradition could come together. It was to be a place where those who feel critical about the 110 year colonial relationship between the United States and Chamorros could gather together to share, build friendships and organize.

It has gone far beyond those initial discussions. It has transformed into a dozen different events, publications, websites, and hundreds of different individuals from Guam and the Marianas to the United States. Mampos banidosu yu' este na såkkan na bai hu ma'gågasi ta'lo este na dinaña'. For those who are interested in learning more about Famoksaiyan or this year's gathering, you can contact me or head to the Guma'Famoksaiyan blog. Through our collaboration with CHELU Inc. we are able to accept tax-deductible donations from people interested in supporting Famoksaiyan or making this conference happen. If you would like to donate please click this link.
Put fabot, ayuda ham gi este na kinalamten. Ti siña in che'gue este sin i sinapotten-miyu.

Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi

Sahuma

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Para Manu Hit?


As Chamorros and their islands face uncertain futures due to various economic, health, environmental, military and social concerns, it is crucial that we come together to work towards developing progressive solutions to these problems. This year’s Famoksaiyan gathering hopes to continue the spirit of our ancestors by creating a guma’famoksaiyan, or a house where we can nurture each other, grow and strategize ways to continue paddling forward. We will do this by first, providing presentations and facilitating discussions about fundamental issues that are affecting our people and our islands, whether it be health and diet issues, the impending military buildup, the reality of Guam’s physical environment, the decolonization of Guam and the plight of the Chamorro language. Second, in the hopes of building a more progressive and critical Chamorro / Guam community, we will also convene working groups to discuss different projects and strategies to creatively and effectively confront the existing problems that face our island.

Ginnen Manu Hit Magi?

Famoksaiyan: "Our Time to Paddle Forward" Summit on Decolonization and Native Self-Determination.

The second Famoksaiyan gathering, Famoksaiyan Hugua or Famoksaiyan: "Our Time to Paddle Forward" Summit on Decolonization and Native Self-Determination was held on April 20th-22nd, 2007 in Berkeley and Oakland, California. It was organized by the Famoksaiyan collective in the Bay Area, and brought together more than 300 people to share and learn about the struggles of indigenous peoples in the Pacific and the Americas. Click HERE to see the schedule for the gathering.

Famoksaiyan: Decolonizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures

Famoksaiyan first began as a conference titled Famoksaiyan: Decolonizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures, which was organized by Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Josette Lujan Quinata, Destiny Tedtaotao and Alfred Peredo Flores Jr. It was held at the Son's and Daughters of Guam Club in San Diego, California on April 14-15, 2006 and was attended by more than 70 Chamorros and their allies. Click HERE to see the schedule for the first Famoksaiyan conference.

Hita Guahan! Chamorro Testimonies at the United Nations - 2007

This booklet is a compilation of the testimonies presented at the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee on October 4, 2006. These testimonies carry on the legacy of more than 20 years of Chamorus who've appealed to the United Nations on behalf of Guam and Chamoru human rights. It features the testimonies of Julian Aguon, Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Sabina Flores Perez, Victoria Leon Guerrero, Tiffany Naputi Lacsado and Fanai Cruz Castro.

Guinifen i Mañainå-Ta: Chamorro Testimonies at the United Nations - 2008

Testimonies made by members and allies of Famoksaiyan to the United Nations Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization in June of 2008 and the Fourth Committee in October of 2008. Includes testimonies by Dr. Keith Lujan Camacho, Dr. Hope Cristobal Jr., Sabina Flores Perez, Victoria Leon Guerrero, Rima Miles and Michael Lujan Bevacqua.

Radio interviews made by Famoksaiyan members in 2006 and 2007. Featured in the interviews are Erica Nalani Benton, Michael Gumataotao Tuncap, Victoria Leon Guerrero, Julian Aguon, estaba Senadora Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Nicole Adapon Santos, Fanai Cruz Castro, Sabina Flores Perez, and Michael Lujan Bevacqua.

An event held in Berkeley, California on November 30, 2008 to provide information on the recent trip by Famoksaiyan members and allies to the United Nations, and to give a picture of the struggles for decolonization in the Pacific, and the effect of the current military buildups to the lives and lands of Chamorros. Featured performances and presentations by Rhea Aguon, Erica Nalani Benton, Jacob "Scarletto" Perez, Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Tiffany Naputi Lacsado, Victoria Leon Guerrero, Michael Gumataotao Tuncap, Sabina Flores Perez, Kerri Ann Borja, Fanai Cruz Castro and Rima Miles.

By 2014, the United States plans to spend $10 billion to move 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guam , increasing its presence there by more than three fold. The small island of Guam , where only 172,000 people live, will be flooded with the burden of 40,000 more people associated with the military build-up. On August 13, 2007, in a meeting with U.S. Congressional representatives, a group of Guam 's maga'haga raised their hands and voices against the movement of thousands of marines, sailors and airmen, and more nuclear submarines and bombers to their island home. In Ancient times, "maga'haga" were the eldest daughters of a clan, who shared the responsibilities of running the clan's affairs and governing its resources with the "maga'lahi," or the eldest sons. Today, the term refers to a strong female leader.
Decolonizing Our Lives: A Progress Report on the Status of Human Rights on Guam

A forum held on January 4, 2007 at the University of Guam which gathering together Chamorro activists from the island and from the diaspora to discuss the colonial status of Guam and the proposed military build up to the island, and what types of work people are doing locally, nationally and internationally to change Guam's political status and effect positive and peaceful change. Speakers included Maga'haga Debbie Quinata, estaba Senadora Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Lisa Natividad, Julian Aguon and Michael Lujan Bevacqua.


A discussion between Michael Lujan Bevacqua and Josette Lujan Quinata, recorded by Jack Lujan Bevacqua on November 17, 2007 in Los Angeles California, related to issues of Guam's decolonization, the decline and revitalization of the Chamorro language, and the proposed military buildup to the island.

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MINAGAHET is published by the Chamorro Information Activists, a non-profit, poorly funded, poorly staffed yan machalapon activist organization, created for the benefit of the people and the futures of Guam. Non-profit doesn't imply "non-profit status or anything" just that taya' suetdon-mami nu este. Pues an kala'u este, ti isao n-mami. Mismo i isaon i tinaigefsagan-mami. Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 MINAGAHET. All rights reserved. We aren't sure what that means, but we see it put at the bottom of other things, and the last thing we want to do is get in trouble for not telling people that all our rights are reserved as well. EMAIL minagahet@lists.riseup.net PARA UN TUNGO' MAS

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bei Falak Denver - I'm Headed to the Democratic National Convention!

For those who have read my blog over the years, they may have noticed a new sort of political trend in the posts that I've written over the past few months. I've been writing alot lately about the 2008 Presidential Campaign, and in particular a lot about Barack Obama.

There are a number of reasons for this. First, I am in the states now and so the Presidential campaign has become a large part of my life. Me and i nobia-hu Rashne, are sort of MSNBC junkies when it comes to the latest political news (no CNN for us, because Lou Dobb's head is huge and stuffed full of race baiting). Second, from an Ethnic Studies perspective, there are so many interesting things taking place in this election, because of the ways the media and other people are being forced to talk about race and gender, or doing their damndest to make sure that race and gender were never mentioned in any meaningful way. I've found the dynamics of the campaigns, at the level of race, gender and class, to be interesting, but even more so the way that Guam and other non-state territories have been treated by the media and by blogs. All of this has given me plenty of great material for my dissertation. Third, with this election being one which is played out in some many ways on the internet, the videos, cartoons and other creative loyalist art forms that people are making, are so interesting and range from digusting to hilarious.

Some of it has been truly inspirational, such as these videos below made by wil i am. I know that most people have seen these by now, but I watched them again recently after not seeing or hearing them for months and they still had an impact on me. There is still something very touching about them, that keeps me supporting Obama, even though I know there are so many problematic things about him.







One other reason is a very exciting one for me. And that's that for the past few months I've been under consideration to be an official press blogger at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

I was first contacted last year by Aaron Silverstein, a Colorado blogger who can be now found at at the blog Squarestate. Part of the outreach for this year's convention was to be the credentialing of a single blog from each of the states and territories. I for one knew nothing about this, and I'm sure alot of other blogger, especially from the territories had no idea that they could even apply for it. Thankfully, Aaron, after seeing this plan and surmising that this news probably wouldn't reach those of us tied to Guam, decided to started a blog dedicated to getting a blogger representing Guam seating at the Democratic National Convention. The blog was titled Guam Love Jason Rosenberg, and it was named such because the person in charge of the selection for the state bloggers corps, the Internet Communications Director was someone named Jason Rosenberg.

Earlier this year, at Aaron's urging I submitted my application to be the blogger for Guam. I know the blogging landscape for the island, and so I knew that there wasn't much competition for me. Aaron contacted almost every Chamorro who has a website about Guam and isn't selling things, asking them if they'd consider applying. Naturally since very few of this blogs were political or regularly dealt with political events or analysis, he didn't get much of a response.

I often lament to people how lonely I feel as a blogger from Guam. There are plenty of blogs out there (you can find plenty of links along the right side of my blog), but few people post regularly, most seem to be photo blogs with a small bit of humor and commentary mixed in, and I have yet to find any other blogger from Guam who regularly deals with political (local, national or international) issues. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with those other types of blogs or those other blogs themselves, but I'm just saying that I wish there was more of a conversation or network out there.

I often get jealous of the blogging network made up of people tied to Saipan. It seems like everyday some new person creates a blog there for the sole purpose of attacking the CNMI government. It seems like everytime I vist the network there is some new, angry, hurtful and very often very personal fight or flame comment war going on up there. I can't say that I would love to go back into the terrible world of fighting everyday with people whose opinions are this cringing mixture of scary ignorance and almost impenetrable (and therefore incomprehensible) certainty. But, if there are more people in the room and in the conversation, at least you can feel like you have allies in the struggle. When I get hateful or dumb comments, its often like I'm alone against all the idiocy in the world. And for some reason, those idiots have so much more time on their hands to write non-stop tirades against me. But if I factor into account that they aren't using much of their brains to create those tirades, then I guess I can understand how they can produce so much...

Despensa yu' umabaknaihon yu'. But, fortunately and unfortunately, the lack of political Guam blogs had worked in my favor. Today I received formal confirmation that my blog, No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro, has been selected to officially represent Guam at the 2008 Democratic National Convention!!! I received an email this morning notifying me, and also got this video from the Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean.



Yanggen ilek-hu na "excited yu'" siempre ti nahong este na fino'-hu para u na'tungo' hamyo i tinahdong-hu i minagof-hu put este! Mampos excited yu'! Mamposssss.

I will have more info soon, when I get more details from the convention committee and also make my plans for how to go about covering the convention and also connecting to other bloggers and others participating in the convention in August. I think that my perspective on the convention will be different than most other bloggers, because of the colonial status of Guam, and my commitment to its decolonization.

In the meantime, I'm pasting below the press release from the DNCC, which also features the full list of bloggers from the states and territories.

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DNC CHAIRMAN GOVERNOR DEAN ANNOUNCES BLOGS SELECTED FOR 2008 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION 'STATE BLOGGER CORPS'

Party Chairman Notifies Selected Blogs Via Online Video Message

DENVER - As part of the Democratic National Convention Committee's (DNCC) commitment to engaging a broad spectrum of audiences in the 2008 Democratic National Convention experience using new technology and other creative means, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean today announced the blogs selected to participate in the DemConvention State Blogger Corps during the four-day event in August. Governor Dean notified the blogs selected via an online video message available at http://www.demconvention.com/ .

"Similar to the record-breaking voter turnout our Party has seen during the primary season, the demand for these coveted blogger positions is yet another indicator of the tremendous interest in this historic Convention," said Governor Dean. "The Internet has played a critical role in connecting Americans to elected officials and candidates seeking office. The DemConvention State Blogger Corps will continue to foster this dialogue - in all 50 of our states and our territories too - as we head towards this year's historic election and elect a Democrat to the White House."

The DNCC previously announced an expansion of the credentialed blogger pool from past Conventions and the addition of a state blogger credentialing program. As part of the new DemConvention State Blogger Corps, designed for bloggers covering state and local politics, bloggers will receive unparalleled access to state delegations and the floor of the Convention hall. In a truly unprecedented move, the DNCC will seat these bloggers with their respective delegations during the historic four-day event, providing even greater access for local coverage and perspective. Highlights from these blogs will also be featured on www.DemConvention.com in the lead up to and during the Convention.

"The members of the DemConvention State Blogger Corps represent a broad spectrum of voices that illustrate the 'big tent' nature of our Party," said DNCC CEO Leah D. Daughtry. "Many of these blogs are vibrant communities, well respected in their home states and committed to ensuring that all voices can be heard in the political process. I'm excited about the roles these bloggers will have in engaging an even broader, more diverse base of people from around the country in conversations not only about the Convention, but about the future of our nation."

More than 400 applications were received from bloggers across the United States and multiple territories. Some of the blogs selected for the State Corps are full-time, professional endeavors while others are the work of individuals, who through their own efforts have become recognized authorities on state and local politics. Bloggers had to submit daily audience information and provide examples of posts that made their blogs stand out as an effective online organizing tool or agent of change, a demonstration of both the reach and impact blogs have had and will continue to have on the 2008 election. The program recognizes the growth of more localized blogs and is in line with Governor Dean's 50-state strategy.

In addition to the State Blogger Corps, the DNCC will soon credential a General Blogger Pool, to include local, state and national political bloggers, as well as niche and video bloggers from across the country. All applicants not selected for the State Blogger Corps are now eligible for selection as part of the General Blogger Pool.The DemConvention State Blogger Corps is listed below.

STATE - BLOG NAME - BLOG URL
ALASKA - Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis - http://divasblueoasis.blogspot.com/
ALABAMA- Doc's Political Parlor - http://www.politicalparlor.net/
ARKANSAS- Under The Dome.com - http://www.underthedome.com/
ARIZONA - Ted Prezelski - Rum, Romanism and Rebellion - http://www.rumromanismrebellion.net/
CALIFORNIA - Calitics- http://calitics.com/
COLORADO -SquareState.net - http://squarestate.net/
CONNECTICUT -My Left Nutmeg - http://myleftnutmeg.com/
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA- DCist.com - http://dcist.com/
DELAWARE - TommyWonk - http://tommywonk.blogspot.com/
DEMOCRATS ABROAD - Democrats Abroad Argentina - http://www.yanquimike.com.ar/
FLORIDA - Florida Progressive Coalition - http://flaprogressives.org/
GEORGIA- Tondee's Tavern - http://www.tondeestavern.com/
GUAM - No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro - http://minagahet.blogspot.com/
HAWAII - iLind.net: Ian Lind Online - http://www.ilind.net/
IOWA - The Iowa Independent - http://iowaindependent.com/
IDAHO - 43rdStateBlues.com - http://www.43rdstateblues.com/
ILLINOIS- Prairie State Blue - http://www.prairiestateblue.com/
INDIANA- Blue Indiana - http://www.blueindiana.net/
KANSAS - EverydayCitizen.com - http://everydaycitizen.com/
KENTUCKY - BlueGrassRoots - http://www.bluegrassroots.org/
LOUISIANA - Daily Kingfish - http://www.dailykingfish.com/
MASSACHUSETTS - Blue Mass. Group - http://www.bluemassgroup.com/
MARYLAND - The Center for Emerging Media - http://www.centerforemergingmedia.com/
MAINE - Turn Maine Blue - http://www.turnmaineblue.com/
MICHIGAN - Blogging For Michigan - http://bloggingformichigan.com/
MINNESOTA - Minnesota Monitor - http://minnesotamonitor.com/
MISSISSIPPI - The Natchez Blog - http://natchezms.blogspot.com/
MISSOURI - Fired Up! LLC - http://www.firedupmissouri.com/
MONTANA - Left in the West - http://www.leftinthewest.com/
NORTH CAROLINA - BlueNC.com - http://bluenc.com/
NORTH DAKOTA - NorthDecoder.com - http://www.northdecoder.com/
NEBRASKA - New Nebraska Network - http://www.newnebraska.net/
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Blue Hampshire - http://www.bluehampshire.com/
NEW JERSEY - PolitickerNJ.com - http://www.politickernj.com/
NEW MEXICO - Democracy for New Mexico - http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/
NEVADA - Las Vegas Gleaner - http://www.lasvegasgleaner.com/
NEW YORK - Room 8 - http://www.r8ny.com/
OHIO - Ohio Daily Blog - http://www.ohiodailyblog.com/
OKLAHOMA - DemoOkie - http://www.demookie.com/
OREGON - BlueOregon (blog) - http://www.blueoregon.com/
PENNSYLVANIA - Keystone Politics - http://www.keystonepolitics.com/
PUERTO RICO - Jusiper - http://jusiper.blogspot.com/
RHODE ISLAND - Rhode Island's Future - http://www.rifuture.org/
SOUTH CAROLINA - CracktheBell.com - http://www.crackthebell.com/
SOUTH DAKOTA - Badlands Blue - http://www.badlandsblue.com/
TENNESSEE - KnoxViews/TennViews - http://www.knoxviews.com/
TEXAS - Burnt Orange Report - http://www.burntorangereport.com/
UTAH - The Utah Amicus - http://utahamicus.com/
VIRGINIA - Raising Kaine - http://www.raisingkaine.com/
VIRGIN ISLANDS - Democratic Party of the US Virgin Islands - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/democratvi
VERMONT - Green Mountain Daily - http://greenmountaindaily.com/
WASHINGTON - HorsesAss.org - http://www.horsesass.org/
WISCONSIN - Uppity Wisconsin - http://www.uppitywis.org/
WEST VIRGINIA - West Virginia Blue - http://www.wvablue.com/
WYOMING - Hummingbirdminds blog - http://hummingbirdminds.blogspot.com/

###About the DNCC: The 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee is the official arm of the Democratic National Committee responsible for planning and organizing the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. http://www.demconvention.com/

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hillary's Gift to Women

Published on Monday, May 12, 2008 by The Huffington Post
Hillary’s Gift to Women
by Barbara Ehrenreich

In Friday’s New York Times, Susan Faludi rejoiced over Hillary Clinton’s destruction of the myth of female prissiness and innate moral superiority, hailing Clinton’s “no-holds-barred pugnacity” and her media reputation as “nasty” and “ruthless.” Future female presidential candidates will owe a lot to the race of 2008, Faludi wrote, “when Hillary Clinton broke through the glass floor and got down with the boys.”

I share Faludi’s glee — up to a point. Surely no one will ever dare argue that women lack the temperament for political combat. But by running a racially-tinged campaign, lying about her foreign policy experience, and repeatedly seeming to favor McCain over her Democratic opponent, Clinton didn’t just break through the “glass floor,” she set a new low for floors in general, and would, if she could have got within arm’s reach, have rubbed the broken glass into Obama’s face.

A mere decade ago Francis Fukuyama fretted in Foreign Affairs that the world was too dangerous for the West to be entrusted to graying female leaders, whose aversion to violence was, as he established with numerous examples from chimpanzee society, “rooted in biology.” The counter-example of Margaret Thatcher, perhaps the first of head of state to start a war for the sole purpose of pumping up her approval ratings, led him to concede that “biology is not destiny.” But it was still a good reason to vote for a prehistoric-style club-wielding male.

Not to worry though, Francis. Far from being the stereotypical feminist-pacifist of your imagination, the woman to get closest to the Oval Office has promised to “obliterate” the toddlers of Tehran — along, of course, with the bomb-builders and Hezbollah supporters. Earlier on, Clinton foreswore even talking to presumptive bad guys, although women are supposed to be the talk addicts of the species. Watch out — was her distinctly unladylike message to Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong-Il, and the rest of them — or I’ll rip you a new one.

There’s a reason why it’s been so easy for men to overlook women’s capacity for aggression. As every student of Women’s Studies 101 knows, what’s called aggression in men is usually trivialized as “bitchiness” in women: Men get angry; women suffer from bouts of inexplicable, hormonally-driven, hostility. So give Clinton credit for defying the belittling stereotype: She’s been visibly angry for months, if not decades, and it can’t all have been PMS.

But did we really need another lesson in the female capacity for ruthless aggression? Any illusions I had about the innate moral superiority of women ended four years ago with Abu Ghraib. Recall that three out of the five prison guards prosecuted for the torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners were women. The prison was directed by a woman, Gen. Janis Karpinski, and the top U.S. intelligence officer in Iraq, who also was responsible for reviewing the status of detainees before their release, was Major Gen. Barbara Fast. Not to mention that the U.S. official ultimately responsible for managing the occupation of Iraq at the time was Condoleezza Rice.

Whatever violent and evil things men can do, women can do too, and if the capacity for cruelty is a criterion for leadership, as Fukuyama suggested, then Lynndie England should consider following up her stint in the brig with a run for the Senate.

It’s important — even kind of exhilarating — for women to embrace their inner bitch, but the point should be to expand our sense of human possibility, not to enshrine aggression as a virtue. Women can behave like the warrior queen Boadicea, credited with slaughtering 70,000, many of them civilians, or like Margaret Thatcher, who attempted to dismantle the British welfare state. Men, for their part, are free to take as their role models the pacifist leaders Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Biology conditions us in all kinds of ways we might not even be aware of yet. But virtue is always a choice.

Hillary Clinton smashed the myth of innate female moral superiority in the worst possible way — by demonstrating female moral inferiority. We didn’t really need her racial innuendos and free-floating bellicosity to establish that women aren’t wimps. As a generation of young feminists realizes, the values once thought to be uniquely and genetically female — such as compassion and an aversion to violence — can be found in either sex, and sometimes it’s a man who best upholds them.

Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of Nickel and Dimed (Owl), is the winner of the 2004 Puffin/Nation Prize.

Copyright © 2008 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Napun Minahalang Siha

Haven't posted one of my Chamorro translations or Chamorro songs lately. I've been so busy writing other things, I just haven't gotten around to much.

I wrote this one recently though while I was flying to Guam for Sumahi's first birthday. I first heard the song "Wave of Mutilation" by the Pixies from the game Rock (Star) Band. The way the song is sung, with several words being dragged or drawn out when sung, made it a little interesting trying to find Chamorro words which would sound good along with that style.

I like what I came up with, although for Chamorro it is a bit abstract or "dreamy," with phrases like "I've kissed stars." If you don't know the song, then you might be wondering why I chose it in the first place. Well, I've been intrigued by the song ever since I first listened closely to the lyrics, and heard the line "find my way to Mariana(s)." And realized that the singer could actually be talking about the Marianas Islands!


********************************
Napun Minahalang Siha
Tinige'-hu
Maayao ginnen as The Pixies


Esta o’sun
Ilek-hu “adios”-hu
Mañugon yu’ kareta
Gi halom i ta-asi

Lao ti matai yu’
Sa’ pumaya’ya’ya’ya
Gi un napun minahalang
Napun minahalang
Napun minahalang
Na-a-a-pu

Mañiku yu’ streyas
Mamacha’ yu’ pulan
Manhokka’ yu’ unai
Gi gigat-hu ante-hu

Bei fañodda’ chalan
Asta i Mariana-a-as
Gi un napun minahalang
Napun minahalang
Napun minahalang
Na-a-a-pu

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Biba Sumahi!!!

Biba Sumahi!!! Its already been one great year of baby punches, hamburger faces, hand clapping, rolling pin and eggplant attacks, Bihusaurus body slams, old man looks, stinky faces, chubby cheeks, chinese boy haircuts, inichon babui, yelling at inappropriate times during movies, daggan shaking, nangnang na chinalek and running for Governor.

Hu gof guaiya hao nene, ya mahalang yu' kada ha'ani na ti gaige yu' gi fi'on-mu.

Here is one video from Youtube, for each month of your life...
























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